Santa Monica was looted after a peaceful protest devolved into a riot in the Downtown area. Hundreds of people held a protest at Ocean and Montana following several days of protests across the country calling for justice for George Floyd, a black man who was killed by a Minneapolis police officer. At about 2 p.m., organized criminal gangs flooded the city targeting the mall and downtown businesses. Hundreds of stores were damaged or looted as criminals roamed unimpeded throughout parts of town while police clashed with protesters near the pier using tear gas to disperse the crowd. Order was restored in the early evening following the arrival of the National Guard and mandatory curfews.
People descended on downtown Santa Monica carrying brooms, dustpans and trash bags the morning after looters hit dozens of downtown stores during a protest against police violence. Community members came out early to clean up debris and scrub graffiti, as well as just to take a look at the destruction that included a burned police vehicle and a downtown restaurant destroyed by fire.
Santa Monica students graduated. Celebrations were held virtually or by car depending on the school. Prior to the event, some students participated in a citywide scavenger hunt to revisit memories of their SMMUSD experience.
About 100 members of the National Guard stood throughout the city carrying rifles and a curfew was established from 1:30 p.m. through 5:30 a.m. following rumors of a second protest in Santa Monica. Stores boarded their windows and Santa Monica Chief of Police Cynthia Renaud said police would erect barriers around shopping districts in the city. Emergency responders were exempt, as were those traveling to and from work or seeking or giving emergency care.
The Broad Stage said it intend to begin its in-theater season in January and, in the meantime, would present a “robust” set of programs online starting in July through its streaming portal The Broad Stage At Home.
More than 2,700 people were arrested since protests and violence began in Los Angeles in response to the death of George Floyd. Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore told the city Police Commission that about 2,500 of those arrests were for failure to disperse or curfew violations. The remainder were for crimes including burglary, looting, assaults on police officers and other violence, chief told the panel, which functions as the Police Department’s civilian oversight board.
The Santa Monica Public Library announced that it would start offering curbside pickup. With the green light from county officials to deliver books to library patrons at the curb, the library reopened book returns and launched contactless curbside holds pick-ups at certain branches.
Clergy and faith leaders from several spiritual communities gathered at Mt. Olive Lutheran Church to praise the social justice movements in American and condemn President Trump’s use of an Episcopal church as a photo opportunity.
Peaceful protest returned to Santa Monica with a large gathering that traveled from Main Street to the Downtown area. Members of the City Council, Interim City Manager Lane Dilg and Chief of Police Cynthia Renaud were in attendance. Hundreds of protesters calling for racial justice marched through the city, passing by City Hall and continued into Downtown.
Protesters gathered outside City Hall again. The event was part of the national movement for racial equity and against police brutality. The City’s Police Chief, Mayor and City Manager were present but attempts to answer questions from the crowd went awry due to a lack of amplified sound. In addition to supporting the national cause, participants were angry at the lack of answers from city officials regarding the use of force against protesters on May 31, specifically the use of tear gas.
The Chief of Police said the department had no intelligence that people would come to loot downtown stores during protests against police violence. Chief of Police Cynthia Renaud said during a meeting with businesses that she was only aware that a peaceful protest on Montana Avenue had been planned and then canceled, despite telling the Daily Press a day earlier that the department knew looting was a possibility and had been sent social media posts advertising looting in the city.
Black Girls Surf and World Surf League held a safe paddle out for “Solidarity in Surfing” at Santa Monica Inkwell Beach Tower 20. The historic Inkwell Beach has been a place African Americans could feel safe while enjoying the ocean together and is just one of the dozens of locations where paddle outs were occurring all over the world from Senegal, to Sydney, to North Carolina, to Monterey.
Local officials announced measures to help businesses that were targeted by looters. The city of Santa Monica said it would fast-track permits and eliminate permit and plan review fees for Santa Monica businesses that suffered damage during the unrest. More than 250 businesses in the City suffered an estimated $11.5 million in exterior damage alone.
Authorities offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information on the theft of 29 guns from a Santa Monica sporting goods store during a day of civil unrest. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives announced a reward of up to $10,000 for information on a group of people who stole firearms from a Big 5 Sports Goods on Wilshire Boulevard.
California movie theaters began opening if they limited theater capacity to 25% or no more than 100 attendees, under state guidance released. The guidance adds movie theaters to a long list of other businesses that could start reopening. Restaurants, churches, hair salons and retail stores had already reopened in many counties.
The city of Santa Monica approved a ballot measure to raise about $3 million each year through a tax on real estate.
Santa Monica City Council voted to begin the process of reforming the Santa Monica Police Department and reallocating some department funding to crime prevention programs following the department’s approach to a May 31 protest against police violence.
Los Angeles County officials announced that gyms, museums, hotels, day camps and campgrounds would be allowed to reopen throughout the county. The relaxing of the health officer order also allowed for the reopening of sports arenas without audiences, zoos, aquariums, galleries, RV parks and outdoor recreation areas, including swimming pools.
Santa Monica’s homeless population fell by 8%. The number of homeless people counted across Los Angeles County jumped 12.7% over the same time frame. The city’s homeless population grew by 3% in 2019 and 4% in 2018 after jumping 26% in 2017.
All blood donations to the American Red Cross were tested for COVID-19 antibodies. The organization tests donations for infectious diseases as part of the standard donation process but the antibody testing was a new addition to the screening process with donors receiving their results directly from the Red Cross.
Santa Monica College canceled the “Celebrate America” fireworks show due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions of large-scale, in-person events. This would have been the 38th year for the popular community picnic and fireworks spectacular.
Local residents donated thousands of dollars to help a man who was seen coming to the aid of a woman during the looting in Santa Monica. In the video, the man jumps out of his truck holding a hockey stick to defend a woman who had been pushed to the ground. The man was then mobbed, had his wallet stolen and his truck was damaged.
Santa Monica’s Juneteenth celebration was held online due to ongoing fears over the spread of COVID-19. LaVerne Ross brought the event to Santa Monica and said at first it was a small, sparsely populated celebration but it has grown with the help of her Juneteenth Committee and Virginia Avenue Park to a large, uniting festival.
Councilman Greg Morena resigned from the Santa Monica City Council to focus on his family restaurant business. Morena’s family owns the Albright restaurant on the Santa Monica Pier. In a statement he said he had to renegotiate the lease for the business or face closure and as the Pier is owned by the City of Santa Monica, he cannot manage the business interests at this time while sitting on council.
City Hall approved a plan to remove the center and parking lanes from Main Street and use the available space to expand retail and dining.
Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill to require county officials to mail a ballot to every registered voter for the November election, cementing into law the Democratic governor’s earlier order to mail out ballots statewide in response to the coronavirus outbreak.
The woman leading Los Angeles County’s fight against Coronavirus received death threats over her actions but Dr. Barbara Ferrer said the ugly behavior would not change how the county approaches the health crisis.
The City Council fully funded the local police department but officials said they were actively working with local advocates to develop a plan for long-term changes to police funding that acknowledge the national calls to reinvest municipal money into other departments.
The Santa Monica Pier reopened to pedestrians. Entrances and exits to the pier are now on Ocean Front walk to manage the number of people accessing the structure and capacity will be limited.
A coronavirus resurgence is wiped out two months of progress in the U.S. and sent infections to dire new levels across the South and West, with administrators and health experts warning that politicians and a tired-of-being-cooped-up public are letting a disaster unfold.
Locals discovered swastikas, a vandalized Pride flag and white paint that was used to deface multiple Black Lives Matters murals throughout the city, sparking concerns of hate speech in the community.
Local entrepreneur, extreme sportsman and original Dogtown local Mike Vaughan passed away suddenly. He was 48 years old. A third generation Santa Monican, Mike attended Grant Elementary, John Adams Middle School and Santa Monica High School. Many locals knew the Vaughan family, they owned DSJ Printers on Pico Blvd for many years.